by Anonymous [at the request of the student]
My yoga journey began June 2014, coinciding with the death of my Dad.
The morning that he died, my friend Mary had invited me to practice yoga with her. As I lay in Savasana, I was flooded with memories of my Dad cheerfully taking me to dance rehearsals and sharing my accomplishments with his clients. I very clearly felt the message that he was so proud of my sister and me. My brother-in law called me after class to tell me the terrible news. Dad suffered a heart attack on his fishing trip, surrounded by his best buddies.
I felt strongly that I was going to need yoga to help me through the grief. I was incredibly moved by the phenomenon that I had experienced while meditating during his death. Mary guided me to Maya Yoga.
When I initially started practice at Maya Yoga, I spent class time completely dedicated to my father. Savasana always brought tears. I was grateful for the time that I had with Dad while practicing- asking him for guidance with each reach to the sky, and asking for strength (lots of strength please!) to make it through the grueling beginning process. I had many moments panicking that I would not be able to get control of my emotions (those dreaded hip openers get me every time!), which would be comforted by the sound of a full room of yogis soothing their own demons.
I was ecstatic at the mind-body connections that were developing, and startled by the bizarre experience that my body was screaming at me. Severely dehydrated! Not enough potassium! Your organs are swollen! Your veins hurt! Your hair hurts! Your heart hurts!
I knew that my heart hurt because I was mourning my Dad. I knew that the other messages were in direct relationship with my long-term eating disorder.
I have been bulimic for 15 years. I binge and purge every day; on bad days, it consumes the entire day. It has given me the most humiliating and self-loathing experiences in life. I have spent half of my life using food as a weapon, and pushing away anyone who discovers my secret.
I attempted counseling in college by demand of my sorority when they discovered bags of vomit underneath my bed. I quit both sorority and counseling within the month.
My next attempt for recovery was being “honest” with my boyfriend. After ten years of severely downplaying the issue with him, I started opening up after episodes of binging and purging that left me terrified. We both agreed that I would need to commit to counseling at an eating disorder clinic after we got married, which I followed. I also admitted the truth to my family doctor, who immediately sent for blood tests. Although scary, her firm chat on heart attacks and my low potassium levels had only a minor effect on the intensity of my habit.
The yoga mat, however, has given me an incredible amount of solace. Practice feels sooo good after a day free from abuse. As the inflammation melts away in my joints, mantras become more positive and grateful in my brain. Peace and self-control are manifesting.
When I leave class, I am more aware of which nutrients my body is requesting. Nutrients that I am inspired to keep inside my body, to fuel my yoga practice, instead of being feared. I have also been rewarded by the proof of progress in my skin- no more patches of eczema and huge improvement in acne!
Above all, Yoga has strengthened my relationship with God. Every time I hit the mat, I am given a slice of wisdom that makes me happy to be human and eager to flourish. I don’t have to dwell on the days that I fail, because I see a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are a teacher or student at Maya Yoga, you have your own powerful yoga story… and you have helped me personally so profoundly.